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Director, Improving the Campus Climate Initiative

The Academic Engagement Network (AEN) seeks to hire a Director to spearhead its recently launched Improving the Campus Climate Initiative. This new initiative aims to help create a healthier campus environment for self-identified Jewish, Zionist, and other students by partnering with select universities to establish and implement antisemitism awareness education and training programs. The Initiative will focus on engaging university administrators and senior-level staff members in student affairs, student life, multicultural affairs, and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) offices for the purposes of offering education and programmatic training for their staff, as well as for student leaders and possibly select faculty and other members of the campus community.

The Director for AEN’s Improving the Campus Climate Initiative will work with other members of AEN’s leadership team to develop programming and materials for the Initiative and to identify target campuses. The Director will be responsible for connecting with university administrators and senior staff members who oversee the relevant offices on campus (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), Student Affairs, Student Life, etc.) and working with these officials to establish, strengthen, and implement antisemitism awareness education and training programs on their campuses.

Drawing on the resources of AEN and the expertise of scholars in the AEN national network, and working cooperatively with other important campus stakeholders such as Hillel, the Director will engage these senior- and mid-level campus officials to ensure that their offices meet their stated goals of guaranteeing a diverse and inclusive campus environment which upholds the rights of all students, including Jewish and Zionist students, to participate fully in campus life. Engaging on these issues in relevant professional associations and helping to raise awareness about, and interest in, the Initiative is expected. The Director will also work with the AEN leadership team to develop, promote, and run an annual educational trip to Israel, beginning in the Summer of 2021, for select cohorts of senior campus officials in the EDI/student affairs/student life space (e.g., Deans, Vice Provosts, Vice Presidents etc.).

The goals of the Director position are to raise the level of awareness, education, and cultural competence about contemporary antisemitism, and the way it impacts students, among campus officials and staff who are most directly responsible for addressing and responding to student life and equity, diversity and inclusion concerns.

Responsibilities of the Director, AEN Improving the Campus Climate Initiative

  • Identify target campuses that will be receptive to AEN’s Improving the Campus Climate Initiative;
  • Organize and help lead AEN-sponsored workshops and other programming for select sets of campus officials who have been identified as supportive of the Initiative;
  • Work constructively with relevant administrators, staff, and faculty members on target campuses to strengthen policies and practices regarding how the university protects the rights of freedom of expression and association and against discrimination and bias, and to help ensure that all students, including Jewish and pro-Zionist students, enjoy equal protection under these policies and practices;
  • Engage proactively with relevant senior- and mid-level administrators, staff, faculty, and other stakeholders on campuses beyond those that are initially selected in order to build support for the Initiative;
  • Travel to campuses for meetings, workshops, and other face-to-face engagements as needed (all reasonable and necessary travel costs will be supported by AEN);
  • Share information and best practices and coordinate periodically on activities, where possible, with staff counterparts at other organizations doing similar work;
  • Help develop written and interactive materials for use in campus antisemitism awareness education and training programs, including by contributing content;
  • Oversee the administration of the Israel education trip for select cohorts of administrators in the EDI/student affairs space (Deans, Vice Provosts, Vice Presidents etc.). Lead and coordinate efforts to recruit participants; oversee rollout of first trip in Summer 2021 and oversee administration of this and subsequent trips, including communicating with participants and with AEN consultants; and help lead and staff the trip.
  • Submit written reports periodically to the AEN Executive Director on the Initiative’s progress and accomplishments;
  • Provide thought leadership and help direct strategy for the Initiative.

Qualifications

Advanced degree (Master’s degree minimum; Ph.D. or J.D. preferred) and at least 5-10 years of experience, and preferably more, in a senior-level appointment in a student-facing university office focused on issues of student life or student affairs; equity, diversity and inclusion; or multicultural affairs.

Familiarity with key issues in American higher education, a strong understanding of university culture, administration, and operations, and a demonstrated savviness about contemporary campus politics.

Extensive contacts with current and former senior-level officials in student affairs and EDI space (e.g., Associate Deans, Deans, Vice Provosts, Vice Presidents) as well as broad contacts with fellow professionals and a positive reputation in this professional community.

Rigorous and demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to upholding the principles of campus free expression and academic freedom for all students, faculty, and staff.

Commitment to confronting antisemitism on campus and to ensuring that campuses are welcoming learning environments for Jewish and all students.

Good working knowledge of the history of antisemitism and of anti-Israel activism on the American campus (scholarly-level expertise is not required).

Knowledge of modern contemporary Israeli society, culture, and history, and their relationship to Jews and Judaism preferred (scholarly-level expertise not required).

Commitment to opposing academic boycotts and efforts at delegitimizing Israel, including the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Strong managerial skills, strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work collaboratively.

About the Academic Engagement Network (AEN)

The Academic Engagement Network (AEN) is an independently-branded non-profit organization of some 750 college and university faculty members, administrators, and staff on 245 campuses across the United States. AEN members work actively to improve the quality of campus discourse about Israel and to preserve free speech and academic freedom on campus. AEN opposes efforts to delegitimize Israel on campus—including especially activities linked to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. AEN also seeks to address campus antisemitism when it occurs.

AEN achieves its goals by educating and providing resources to its members so that they, in turn, can positively influence the climate on campus, including by anticipating and responding to virulently anti- Israel and anti-Zionist initiatives, mentoring students, working constructively with campus leaders, maintaining ties with faculty on their own and other campuses who are confronting similar challenges. Among the many resources it offers, AEN provides financial support for faculty-initiated academic programming, events, and speakers, plans educational efforts in regional and national convenings, publishes materials and guide books for faculty and administrators, and leads residential seminars for members who are seeking to bolster their knowledge about contemporary Israeli society and their savvy about relevant campus politics. For further information about AEN, please see its website.

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The Director of AEN’s Improving the Campus Climate Initiative will report to the AEN Executive Director. AEN is advertising this position as either a full-time or part-time (approximately 50-65% of full-time) nonresidential appointment. Periodic travel to Washington DC will be expected but residence in the Washington DC metro area is not required. A competitive compensation package is offered. Salary is negotiable based on experience and expertise.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter indicating interest in the position, C.V., two writing samples of modest length, and the names and contact information of three references to AEN Deputy Director Michael Atkins, mike@academicengagement.org. Inquiries regarding the position may be directed to AEN’s Executive Director, Professor Miriam F. Elman, at miriam@academicengagement.org.

Applications will be accepted immediately and on a rolling basis until the position is filled.